Create mood music pictures.

one sheet of paper

When you combine doodling with great music you somethimes get really beautiful images. Being 'talented' doesn't help, so kids and adults are equal in this fun creative activity.

What are mood music pictures?

Mood Music pictures are an example of synesthesiastic art. You turn sounds into images, or 'draw music'. Basically it is just a doodle you draw while listening to music. That doesn't sound too special, but if you let the music take you and then try and interpret the mood you are feeling with lines, strokes, swirls and whatnot, you can suddenly find your creativity producing sketches that will astound both you and others too.

Plain paper and pen brushes are our favourite. Pen brushes (Ink Brush Pens) are like felt tips but have a longer and softer knib. You can find them in art supply stores and sometimes in high street stationers. If you can't get them chunky felt tips do fine.

Of course, laptops with a painting program are less messy and you can instantly upload your pics to the web and show everyone your latest creation.

Making Mood Music Pictures

mood music picture -

(painted while listening to "St Dominic's Preview" by Van Morrison)

How to paint a mood music picture

Turn on the music nice and loud, listen, enjoy. Only when you feel the music is really touching you emotionally, put your pen to paper (or mouse to pad if you are drawing on your pc).

It is an activity the whole family can enjoy, but don't make it a competitive 'who draws the best' thing. Let each family member choose a different song and everyone have a go at drawing their mood.

mood music picture -elbow

(painted while listening to Elbow's "One Day Like This")

If you like a particular sketch, you can colour it in. If you don't want to ruin the original, scan it and then print copies for colouring in.

Since most songs only last 3 or 4 minutes, these are quick sketches, not laboured works of art. Its all about releasing creativity. If you have a paint program on your computer (and nobody else wants to play) you can make mood music pictures on your PC instead of on paper.

This was a PC doodle while listening to The Dark is Rising by Mercury Rev.

You don't need to explain the pictures you produce. You don't need to claim them as art and you don't even need to argue that they are good or bad. Just enjoy the creativity.

Your colour choices, angles, thickness of strokes and everything about your mood music picture can come from deep inside and be a true expression of the inner mood.

If you want to try different effects, why not cut out shapes of precoloured paper like the artist Henri Matisse used to do.


He was interested in the relationship between mood and colours. I am sure that as you play with mood music pictures you will become fascinated with it too.


We hope you enjoy this idea.

Mood Music Picture Gallery

"State of Things" by Reverend and the Makers


"Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen